I got engaged in February of this year and it has been such a whirlwind of emotions and events since. It was the most wonderful moment and surprise of my life and my fiancé truly pulled all the stops! He didn’t let on a thing, I was 100% surprised, he flew my entire family down from California, and he even turned the whole event into a surprise engagement party. It was unbelievable! However, since that glorious moment, I became a humongous stress ball! My biggest learning post-engagement: planning a wedding ain’t easy!
I figured the best way to make sure I’m in the present and enjoying the whole process is by documenting it and, even better, providing some advice and learnings from my own experiences. To start, here’s a list of what you should focus on (aka what I’m focusing on) as you’re planning your big day!
How to plan your wedding without losing your mind
Enjoy being engaged!
The biggest tip I can give is to enjoy the time you have being engaged! It’s so exciting and feels so different from dating! This is a new chapter in your adult life! You and your fiancé just made a conscious decision to live out the rest of your lives together. That’s a huge deal!
I was a little all over the place after getting engaged. Like immediately after, I was a huge stress ball who didn’t know what the next step was. Also, coming from an Indian family and marrying into a Persian one, naturally everyone had a lot of questions about when exactly we would get married. Yes, people wonder right away. And it’s no fault of theirs either – everyone is so excited for you! But the biggest thing you should do is just sit back and enjoy for a little bit. You’re going to marry the love of your life and you just got a fat diamond. Stare at it a bit and have some smooch sessions.
Create your ideal guest list with your fiancé and key family members
Whenever you’re ready to start the planning process, you and your fiancé should definitely start with the ideal guest list. And make your list with family members that are going to potentially have a list of their own. More tips on this in a later post. Stay tuned.
Set your budget ASAP
Talking about money is never comfortable, especially when you may be relying on family help to fund your wedding. Figure out what your budget is. Are you and your fiancé the sole contributors of the wedding? Are your parents helping out? Get it all down, talk it out with the families, and come up with a number that’s realistic and won’t break anyone’s savings. It’s a celebration and you should totally go all out… but it should not be the cause of financial worries either.
Pick your venue and save the date!
Oh my, if there’s anything more stressful than picking your venue and saving the date, please let me know. This, so far, has been my biggest hurdle in the process. And everything hereafter has been weirdly NBD. But picking your venue is so hard.
We went back and forth for literally 4 months trying to figure out where our wedding would take place! We contacted and toured a million venues, we did some tours without a proper idea about our budget and guest count (BAD IDEA), we changed our date a ton, and we (okay, just me) sat and had tearful panic attacks too. Yeah, it was bad, but my biggest learning from this was to do the steps above: 1) enjoy being engaged to an awesome guy that loves me and all the panic attacks I come with; 2) create my guest list; and 3) set my budget. The venue options began narrowing down to the perfect one when I gathered my bearings.
Make a plan and timeline
Once the venue and date are set, create a plan that will fit your wedding timeline. You want to make sure you’re spacing things out properly and giving yourself the time to do things properly. Planning a wedding can actually be a lot of fun with a plan. If you’re not much of a planner yourself, it’s absolutely worth investing in someone to help you step-by-step. I’m doing a bit of both. More on this in a later post.
Enjoy being engaged some more 🙂
Setting your date and venue as well as making your game plan for the next few months will by far be the toughest part of the process. Well, that and watching enormous amounts of money leaving your bank account (sigh, true story)… but more on budgeting in another post!
After these things are done and you’ve just wrapped your head around the fact that this is happening, everything gets so FUN, EXCITING, AND EASY! My tip at this stage, pencil in some time to enjoy being engaged some more. This is the stage Shaheen and I are at and we’re loving every minute of it! We’re getting ready to move in together, we’re talking future plans (like having a family a couple years along the road… #what!), we’re doing all sorts of crazy workouts together to get our wedding bods in shape, and we’re also gearing up to go on our first trip as an engaged couple in a few days! Being engaged is literally so fun and gushy and cute. Enjoy it!
Choose your must-have vendors and figure out what vendors or areas you’re willing to be flexible with
Now that the huge decisions are out of the way, it’s time to have fun by picking your key vendors. Most venues require you to go in-house with their caterers, but if not, you also get to figure out what delicious foods your guests will be eating. This life is fun! You’re basically previewing your party with food tastings, cake tastings, decor hunting, DJ shopping, and so much more. My tip here, visualize your dream wedding and figure out what vendors you cannot live without. Most of us have budgets we need to abide by and a vast amount of couples exceed their budget by 30% or more. To avoid that, I recommend figuring out early on what vendors you cannot live without and where you’re willing to make a few adjustments. This is just my suggestion. Some couples go in with the mindset that you should go all out for your big day and money comes and goes. I hear that too and totally agree. Just set some realistic expectations while you’re dreaming big! More posts on vendors and decor coming soon.
Create your website, send out save the dates and formal invitations
I’m HUGE on making sure your wedding website, save the dates, and formal invitations are something you’re spending a considerable amount of time on. Make sure you’re searching for the look that is truly representative of you. Some people don’t think it’s a big deal to match all of these things to your wedding colors and themes, but I think it’s a nice touch if you do think about having everything blend together nicely. Remember, these three things are essentially your guests’ first look into what your wedding celebration is going to be like! Get them excited! You’re literally throwing the most legit party of your life. I’ll be writing another post about this with recommended vendors and platforms.
Figure out your look!
You need a lot of time to sort out outfits and work towards your dream bod (or just get healthy and feel your best) for your big day. You also want to work through details like what your bridal party and key family members will be wearing. This part needn’t be stressful, but definitely put some time into crafting your perfect look. These memories will be around forever!
Don’t stress the little things – it will all work out!
And finally, don’t stress the little things. All of the aforementioned things will come together no matter what. If you need help, be sure to ask for it! And most importantly, just have fun! This is your big day and everything about it should be representative of you and your fiancé’s taste! It doesn’t matter what other people think or want, this is one event that’s truly ALL ABOUT YOU!
More wedding posts to come as I go through this process! I’m officially 235 days away from the big day! Let me know if there’s anything you want to read about in the wedding planning process!